Rob Casey is the owner of SUP school Salmon Bay Paddle in Seattle, co-founder for the PSUPA and is the author of two paddling guides.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Changing Robes for Paddlers & Surfers

For years I've used a towel around my waist while taking on or off wetsuits in parking lots with cars whizzing past. I've got the procedure down to a science using a foam pad to stand on in winter and can take on or off a wetsuit in less than a few minutes.

A few weeks ago at the Deception Pass Dash, a large multi craft race held in December, I spotted surf skier Don Kiesling wearing a fleece robe.  I was reminded about using such robes or over shirts for changing in colder temps. You can also wear the robe over your wet/drysuit before or after paddling to stay warm.  Here's a product Don recommended: The Fuzzy Fleece

Phone:    541-490-7455

And another sold by a friend who owns Stoke Harvester, an online surf shop.. Cloak of Stoke

Friday, November 23, 2012

Tim Niemier's Origami folding SUP

As the founder of Ocean Kayaks, Tim Niemier's goal was to put 'a billion butts on boats'. He certainly has done so, and for a few years has been putting many on stand up boards.  Equipped with a CNC machine in his garage in Bellingham, WA, Tim is the mad scientist of small boat design.  Many hire him to design sit on top and SUP boat/board projetcts such as the popular Diablo Paddlesports fishing kayak.

Tim's latest project is the Origami folding SUP. The SUP folds into a flat easy to carry form so you can store it in the backseat of our car or in your apartment.  Check out the link: Origami Paddler.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Deception Pass Dash 2012 - Sunday 12/9

The Dash started in 2006, the brainchild of evil sadistic paddlers Will Robens and Don Kiesling. Their idea: Challenge racers to sprint 2.5 miles around Deception Island and into the mouth of Deception Pass, before the current gets so strong that they can’t make it all the way to Strawberry Island on the far end of the Pass. The reward for those who pull it off? The satisfaction of knowing they’ve worked that hard to get halfway home! — and a fun ride, this time with the building ebb, all the way back to the finish.
Who would possibly show up for such a thing? 39 paddlers in 35 kayaks & surfskis showed up the first year. Since then, the word has spread and 186 racers came out in 2010 - 2012, paddling SUPs, outriggers, sculls, prone paddleboards and pedalboats along with some of the same sea kayakers and surfski racers who came out in year 1.
This year's Dash is on Sunday Dec 9th.  
Or contact me (race director): for volunteer and sponsorship info.  

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Marine Medicine - Book

Instructing or guiding tours on the water?  Check out the book Marine Medicine from Eric Weiss and Michael Jacobs published by Mountaineers Books, Here.  

Marine Medicine


Authors: Eric WeissMichael Jacobs
304 Pages, 978-1-59485-660-0
Mountaineers Books 04/19/2012

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

SUP Org for Veterans with PTSD..

Ferrule Rose, owner of a few SUP businesses in the Dallas / Ft Worth area has founded SUP Warriors, an org created to assist veterans with PTSD.  She's hoping to grow the org nationally.  Know someone who needs help?  More info here..

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Student Info Form - For Instructors..

Before any lesson, tour, or Meet Up, I have every new student fill out a Student Info Form which gives me detailed info about their medical history, any physical issues which may affect the lesson, their contact info and emergency contact info.  In addition my form asks for their height and weight if they're renting gear so I can match them with the appropiate gear for their lesson.

An important question I include is - Can You Swim?   Good know prior to taking them on the water!

Here's my form..

Salmon Bay Paddle Student Information Form. 
Return Before Class to:

-Emergency Contact:

-Class Date:

-Any Medical Conditions or History:

-Any Recent Injuries?

-Can You Swim?
-Are You Cleared by a Physician to Exercise?
-Do You Have any Prior Paddling Experience. If so describe..

-What Do You Hope to Get from This Class? 
-Where Did You Hear of Salmon Bay Paddle?

** Gear Needs... (Free with classes & tours)
Do you need to borrow a board & paddle from us?  Y or N   If yes, what's your Height and Weight?
Do you need to borrow a wetsuit?  Y or N    If yes, what's your Height and Weight?
Do you need to borrow booties from us?   Y or N    If yes, what's your shoe size?
Do you need to borrow gloves from us?   Y or N    If yes, what's your size?

- Check or cash for class fee.
- Beach towel, bottle of water, eye glasses retainer, sunbock, wide brimmed hat for sun, energy bar, waterproof camera with strap, UV protected lip baum, warm clothes to put on after class, reef walker shoes (no flip flops!), water bottle or hydration waist belt; Swimsuit or shorts (can be worn under a wetsuit); SmartWool, polypro or capeline top if you get cold easily (can also be worn under a wetsuit). 

** Wear a swimsuit and/or rash guard under your wetsuit.  We don't recommend wearing jeans, pants, or anything cotton or baggy.  Outdoor clothing such as capeline, polypro, or SmartWool fit well under wetsuits and will help you stay warmer.  **Many of our Launch locations don't have places to change in.  Urban Surf by Gas Works Park in Seattle gives my students rental and sales discounts.

Have your own wetsuit or paddling gear?  Options that work for SUP:
Neoprene shorties (in summer), farmer john/jane, wetsuits 2mm to 5mm, drysuits & paddling jackets.  Try your suit on before coming to class if you haven't worn it in awhile.  Kayaking PFDs also work for SUP.   Outdoor clothing such as rain coats/pants, ski hat also work.  Call us if you have any questions.

Cancellation Policy: If you need to cancel a class or tour, please notify us at least 48 hours prior to a scheduled class or tour.  We appreciate your consideration, given our classes are small and set to your schedule. Tel: 206.465.7167 (non smart phone).  

 Contact me if you have any questions.. or 206.465.7167. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Importance of the Liability Form..

If you operate a paddling business where you're offering rentals, tours, or instruction, you need to have all your customers sign a liability / waiver form.  The water can be a dangerous place depending on weather, the type of water, and the quality of your instruction.  And shi.. happens.  Three colleagues have had accidental on-water fatalities and others have stories of customers who either tried to or did sue them for some pretty interesting stuff.  If you do Meet Ups, you should have your members sign a form as well.

You can get a waiver form from your insurance company, certification program or find boiler plate forms online. I have adapted the ACA form for my own use.  View it here, Liabilty Form.  You should store you signed forms for up to 7 years.  If you do the latter, have your attorney check it for authenticity.

I add a line asking students if I can photograph them during lessons and use the images for promotion. They're welcome to cross the line out if that's not of interest to them.  

Monday, November 5, 2012

Used Naish SUPs For Sale in Seattle 11/15/12

The following boards from my 2012 fleet are for sale as of 11/15/12.

- Mana 10'5" ASA - $800  (super stable board)
- Nalu 11'4" AST - $850 Nalu (Great surfing and flat water board. Very light!)
- Mana 10' Softop - $725 (great for smaller folks or kids)

Naish Javelin 12"6" Carbon - $1335.00 (race, tour, or flat water)

- Naish Mana 10'5" ASA - $912.00 (super stable, great for larger folks)

- Naish Alana  9' 5" Wood - $1042.00 (great for small folks, kids, or experienced surfers).

- (2) Sport Keiki 7.0 vario paddles - $40/each

More info:

All prices are final and don't include sales tax. 

Contact Ned Johnson:
Ned Johnson, Y.P.S.,Inc.
Office- (206)283-3243
Mobile- (206) 390-1097

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Tip for Paddling Straight

There's several reasons why paddlers can't paddle in a straight line or course.  One of the most common errors I see is not keeping a vertical paddle shaft for the forward stroke. The easiest way to solve this is to raise your upper wrist so it's stacked over your lower wrist and is over the water, not the board.  Have a friend paddle behind you. Ask them to notice if you paddle shaft is at an angle leaning over the board, or is vertical and is over the water on the side you're paddling on.

Correcting the paddle shaft angle not only helps you stay straight, but also reduces how often you switch hands. Ultimately it makes you more efficient and saves energy.

Short (9') or boards with a lot of rocker may not respond to this technique. Boards 14' or longer will allow you to paddle on one side for as long as you want depending on current or wind conditions.

Tip: Keep your hands loose on the paddle shaft.  A 'death grip' will lead to pain in your wrists and arms and can take energy away from your stroke.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Quick Release Leashes for Whitewater SUP

Here's a few options for quick release leashes for use in whitewater, tidal rapids, surf, etc.

Salamander SUP Quick Release Belt & Coiled Leash - Also check out their SUP Bag with Coiled Leash & Carry Strap.

BadFish Re-Leash - Has pressure break points which is essential in releasing from your gear.

XM Power-Clip Leash - Pulling the yellow loop detaches the ankle strap from the leash.

NRS SUP Leash w/ Quick Release

Sea Wolf PFD from Astral Buoyancy - SUP whitewater adventurer Ben Friberg uses this vest and prefers having the detachable enclosed short tow rope and quick release belt. (Green Jacket's rope couldn't be detached).  I currently use the Green Jacket by Astral for most SUP guiding and instruction work and keep the Salamander Keel Haul tow rope around my waist in bigger water as a longer tow option.

**Make sure you test your leash prior to use.  Much like inflatable PFDs, many don't know how to actually use their gear when they really need it.  

Salamander SUP Quick Release Belt & Coiled Leash (above)

Friday, October 19, 2012

5 Safety Tips for SUP Guides & Instructors

Here's 5 safety tips for guiding groups of customers on the water.

Check all gear before leaving the beach or dock.
Teach your students/clients to check each other's gear as well.  I did a corporate group trip a month ago in which a rental board's fin fell out during the class.  My co-instructor had to prone paddle it back to shore leaving me with 14 paddlers.

- Check to make sure fins are securely attached.  Bring extra fin screws/plates just in case.

- Make sure both ends of the leash are attached to the board and paddlers.  Ankle leash should be securely attached. Some students may put their ankle leash on quickly not fully attaching the velcro.

- Misc: Check paddle lengths; is everyone wearing what they need to be comfortable on the water?; Are water bottles, etc secured to the deck? Paddling at night - does everyone have a non blinking white waterproof light?

- Does everyone have a PFD - whether vest or inflatable style?  If inflatable do they know how to use it?  Is the cartridge properly installed?  Tip: Advise students to fire a cartridge off to see how it works when floating in the water.  Most have never done this.

Do a Safety Talk with your Students/Clients Before Leaving.
Discuss with your students/clients your intended route, the current weather situation, any hazards you may encounter or would want them to avoid, check gear (above).

Do a Safety Talk with your Guides Before Leaving.
Discuss your intended route, discuss hazards along the route, determine who will be in point, midway and/or sweep, confirm which channel everyone will be on for walki-talkies or VHF radios and do a radio check, determine if the group should be broken up in the case of slow or faster paddlers, and if so who will take each (or whether the group will stay together), and check to make sure your guides have safety gear such as radios, tow lines, night lights, a First Aid Kit, repair kit, and if in cold weather a 'hypo kit' (extra clothing, energy bar, flares, chemical heat packets) for students.

Bring a Tool Kit.
Extra fin screw/plates, extra leash plug string, various methods of fixing a ding: Solarez, plumber's tape,     etc, extra bungee for tie-down blow-outs.

First Aid Kit.
The size and contents should vary depending on the type of trip you'll be on.  For 1-2hr basic flat water lessons, I carry advil and aleve, bandaids, duct tape, sunblock, neosporin, and my or my students personal meds, (for me - migraine meds).  I carry the kit in a slim hard plastic waterproof box with one of those dry salt tabs.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Super Glue for Repairing Wetsuits

My 1.5 year old Xcel Infinity 4/3 is fraying at the edges and I have several wear spots and a few recent holes.  My gear tends to wear quickly despite regular cleaning as I paddle 4x times a week annually mostly in saltwater in both a SUP and a kayak.

That said I needed a quick fix for 2 worn spots before teaching a SUP class in whitewater the other day.  Being a procrastinator, it was too late in the day to find a regular surf shop fix and I was never a fan of sticky tar looking stuff surf shops sell for repairing neoprene.  I opted for 'water resistent' super glue in the garage. Taking a risk, I squeezed a few dabs on the holes, then re-applied one more dab each as some of the first soaked in a bit to the fabric.  It dried solid in about 10 minutes - good to go!

The class in the tidal rapids of Deception Pass in Washington State required swimming, climbing on the board, etc.  The glue held well and kept the water out.  I'll continue to watch it to see if it clings to the neoprene.  If successful, I'm stoked to find an affordable and easy to access product to fix gear on the road.  Marine stores often sell waterproof super glues as well.

I won't be ordering another Infinity as they don't last long and rarely does their office return my calls. A student of mine did suggest ProMotion wetsuits from Hood River, Oregon.  He mentioned they are more reliable than many larger national company suits, just as warm, but much more affordable.  You can order a custom suit for the price as a stock one.  Plus there's no sales tax in Oregon.  Check em' out..  ProMotion

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Hobuck Hoedown Surfing Competition for SUP & Kayaks Oct 6 & 7th, 2012

About 2005, I was successful in adding a surf kayaking heat in the Surfrider Cleanwater Classic in Washington State.  A year later, surf kayakers camped at Hobuck Beach during Memorial weekend  decided to have an impromtu competition.  In 2007 with the help of my partner Christy and Deb Volturno in Port Angeles, we started the Hobuck Hoedown, the Pacific NW's first surf and sea kayaking competition.

Several years later, Bill Walker took over the competition and has made it a very successful event with over 50 participants (2x prior to Bill), some coming from British Columbia, Idaho, and southern California.  SUP and a scramble open ocean race was added in 2010.  In 2011, pro paddlers Fletcher Burton and Tyler Lausten appeared to show off their wave sking skills.

This year, the Hoedown is on Oct 6 & 7th.  To register, follow this link..

The event Facebook page here:

I'll be offering 2hr SUP surfing clinics Fri, Sat, and Sunday.  More info, HERE.

Monday, September 10, 2012

2012 Round the Rock Photos

High winds made the 2012 Round the Rock SUP race a grueling paddle for many who endured the 13 mile circumnavigation of Mercer Island near Seattle.

Photos of the Round the Rock HERE.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Naish SUPs for Sale in Seattle (9/12) -

These are available for sale now (9/2012):
Javelin 12'6" carbon - $1600
Alana 9'5" wood - $1200
Mana 10'5" ASA - $1000 (nearly new)
Keiki 9' - Kid's board - $650

The following boards will be for sale Seattle after November 15th.
Mana 10'5" ASA - $800
Nalu 11'6" Sport - $750 (this may be sold 9/14/12)
Nalu 11'4" AST - $850
Nalu 10'10" AST - $790 (multi concave hull - see my review in the prior post)
Mana 10' Softop - $725

All prices don't include sales tax. 

More info:

Contact Ned Johnson:

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Naish Nalu 10-10 SUP

I've had the opportunity to paddle the Naish Nalu 10'-10" for several months and have found the board to be versatile as both a super stable beginner's or learning board as well as a fun board for surfing.  At 32" wide and with a mult-concave hull and square tail the board is super stable.  We call the 10-10 our 'go-to' board with students in providing enough floatation for shaky beginners or larger paddlers.

I've surfed the board in up to shoulder high waves and found it easy to turn and fast enough to ride crititcal sections of waves.  The stability kept me up more often than not, and the square tail helped with pivot turns thus increasing my wave count.  The board has little nose rocker which I thought would be an issue in surfing but wasn't.  The nose has a sharp or thin width (top to bottom) thus actually slice through incoming waves which helped in keeping forward speed and not having to squat as low to get the nose up over breaking waves.

The boards has screw-ins on the deck for tie-downs such as cargo netting or bungies.  Instead of using a stick down loop product, the screw-in give you a solid anchor to attach gear to.  Carrying the board was easy even for a few long distance hauls on low tide beaches.  The traction pad was great for a variety of situations whether  I had booties on or was barefoot.

For 2013, I'm hoping to get a few of these boards for instruction to replace my aging Ron House 12-1 Lairds.

Paddler Wt: 230lbs.
Paddler Ht: 6'-5"

Manufacturer Link:

SUP Buddy - Drink Holder for SUPs

Devin Carroll, store manager of Seattle's Urban Surf shop designed an ingenious product to store your drinks on your SUP - the SUP Buddy.  Made from foam and attached via suction sups, the SUP Buddy provides access to a drink for boards which usually lack tie-downs for carrying hydration.

Contact Devin at for more info.  The SUP Buddy retails for $25.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

18' Touring SUP Project - Prototype #1

I'm working on a project with NW shaper Sean Thomas of Echo SUP to develop a fast stable touring SUP. Specs are 18'x29".  More info and pics to follow in coming weeks.

Friday, August 31, 2012

SUP Surfing - 3 Common Mistakes & Some Solutions..

I've been teaching a bunch of SUP surfing classes recently on the Washington coast.  Here's a list of common errors students routinely make and some solutions to those errors..

Common Mistakes:

Not paddling straight towards the beach while trying to catch a wave.  To best catch a wave you want to be faced perpendicular to the wave - or facing the beach.  I've had students paddle diagnolly with a wave behind them. Sometimes it works, most often not.

Correction: When gaining speed to catch the wave, paddle straight towards the beach while watching the wave behind your shoulder.  Learning to paddle straight and on one side allows you to focus on your speed, your position in catching the wave, and timing in catching the wave.


Many students stand facing the beach without paying attention to waves approaching from behind.  Doing so not only prevents you from choosing waves as they approach you but also prevents you from watching out for other surfers.

The surf zone is a very active environment and can be dangerous if you're not paying attention.  Always look behind you for other surfers, waves, or obstructions.  I often stand sideways with the beach on one side and the horizon on the other while waiting for waves.


A common error is not gaining enough speed before the wave hits you while standing straight up.  The wave will knock your board out below you if you're too slow or standing upright.

Solution:  Start paddling 20' before the wave comes to you.  Crank up your speed when it's 10' away then squat down low as it comes up behind you.  As mentioned above, keep your eye on the wave when it's behind you and when surfing.  Work on your forward stroke so you can effortly paddle fast and straight in the surf.  I use short quick strokes with a wave fast approaching behind me.  Short means taking the blade out at my feet or toes.  Don't stop paddling until you're surfing.

Late Summer is the Season to Buy Used Gear

In early September paddling shops will be liquidating their 2012 gear to make room for 2013 stuff.  This is a great time to check around for considerable discounts on SUPs, kayaks, and related gear.

For the Pacific NW, here's a few to visit..

Norm Hann's biz in BC, (inquire within):

In Seattle:

Urban Surf

Mountains 2 Sound (also Alki Kayaks):

NW Outdoor Center on Westlake:
This is a great shop for both kayaks and SUPs.  In late Sept they do an auction of sorts.  Watch their site for updates:

Know of others?  Add to the list in comments!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Tidal Currents Map - Canadian Current Atlas

If you're planning a paddling trip in the San Juan Islands, BC Gulf Islands or similar, there are a few guidebooks (aside from mine) which are essential for a safe journey.  Tidal currents are quite strong in those areas especially in Haro and Rosario Straits and the outer San Juan Islands.  Many deaths and rescues have occured here from poor decision making in negotiating (or not) the tidal currents.

The Canadian Current Atlas is one of my favorite guides which shows the strength and path of currents throughout this region.  It's useful in determining where and when to travel to your destination.  Use the Washburne's Tables to find accurate tide levels in planning your trip.  Both guides should be used together.  Fundamentals of Kayak (or SUP) Navigation is an essential guide in figuring out currents, tides, and paddling in both.  Find both at

Canadian Current Atlas
Washburne's Tables
Fundamentals of Kayak Navigation

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Being a SUP Ambassador

SUP is growing like crazy throughout much of North America, Europe, South America, and some parts of Asia.  Such rapid growth is exciting but can also lead to issues usually in already crowded surfing beaches or urban waterways with a lot of boating traffic.

Beaches such as San Onofre north of San Diego have a specific SUP surfing beach called the Dog Patch.  If one paddles a SUP outside of the Patch, a stiff fine often can be given.

Vacation beaches of Hawaii have seen a heavy use of SUPs mostly from tourists passing through town.  Issues here have included tourists with little or no surfing experience trying to surf SUPs in crowded beaches where a large SUP can be a hazard to others if out of control. SUPs in many surfing areas may take more waves than traditional surfers thus sparking a bit of tension.

Here in the Seattle area, SUPs are paddling in crowded boating areas without any knowledge of boating right-of-way rules thus are pissing off boaters.  At the Seattle Boat Show this year, several tour boat operators told me they hate SUP'ers due to being cut-off or having paddlers fall in their path while underway.

In my Instructor Certification course, the first topic we cover is becoming a good SUP Ambassador for your community.

A few tips to becoming a good SUP Ambassador..

- Boating Channels - Know your local boating right-of-way rules.  In most areas, SUPs don't have right-of-way over boaters.  That said, wait to cross a busy waterway.  Learn where the specified boating channels are and stay clear when it's busy.  Give yourself ample time to cross when clear.  View a boating channel as a two lane highway, always look before crossing - remember Frogger?

- Surf -  don't go out in waves beyond your skill level.  If a beginner, stay in waves about 3' tall or waist high.  Don't paddle into a crowd of surfers unless you can 100% control your board both paddling in and out.  Sit down while waiting for waves and talk to those around you.  Don't be a wave hog.  SUPs being so long can catch waves easier than traditional surfboards.  Give more than you take and avoid taking waves outside of the line-up.  Consider surfing 50'+ away from others - your leash and 12' board make a 24' radius around you when you fall.  Also learn Surf Etiquette (google it).

- Marinas - Slow down at each entry and boat aisle and slowly peek around the corner before crossing. Boats don't have brakes and in narrow marina passageways have little room to work with.  Don't lean on boats and stay off the docks.  Many live in marinas so doing so is the same as standing on someone's front yard.  Watch marina entrances as boats can come in around a sharp corner without warning.
* Note: I do take my students in a local marina for calmer conditions if the outside conditions are too bumpy. 

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Finless Surfing

Surf kayakers and wave skiers have been surfing finless for years, but they have the advantage of a two bladed paddle which can be used as a rudder (or skeg/fin).  Surfing kayaks since the late 1990's, I didn't use fins until I started to SUP in 2007.  Check out Jeff Burlingham surfing Skook and Steamer Lane,

A year ago I came across a video of Aussie Derek Hynd surfing a custom surfboard finless, doing some sweet 360's.  Pretty epic seeing him dance on the triple overhead faces sliding and spinning with ease,  video here:

A few years ago we saw an explosion of finless surfing with Tom Wegener's re-introduction of the Alaia and other finless wood boards.  Here's one of Tom surfing a finless 16' Toothpick,

This week I came across a great video of SUP surfer Ryan Helm, working it finless in Mexico - some fun stuff.

Here's Arnaud Frennet ripping it on a Naish..

Monday, July 23, 2012

Naish Nalu 10'10" SUP Review

The Naish Nalu 10' 10" is my 'go to' board for instruction. If paddlers are feeling unstable on my other boards, I switch them to the 10' 10" and they immediately feel relaxed.  Even for folks over 6'-5" or 220lbs, the board provides great stabilty.

The board has a multi-concave hull which not only helps with tracking but it also creates suction thus making the board more stable than other boards with its width, volume, and length. The Nalu 10'-10" is light to carry and has four outfitting screw holes on the top deck to add cargo netting or bungies.

I've taken the board in seas up to 4 feet, winds to 25 knots and have surfed it several times in waist to chest high waves.  It handled well in all conditions and has nice forward speed for it's length.

It's also a very stable board in river and tidal rapids.  I took it on a few rapids on the Wenatchee River in Washington State (Class 2+)a nd have taught a few classes at Deception Pass State Park in tidal rapids where it crossed eddylines with ease and was fun to squirt the tail in the current.

The Alana 10'-10" board is the same as the Nalu version. The Alana is designed as a women's board. The only difference is the Hawaiian style deck pattern.  The Nalu comes in AST (white textered forward deck) and with the wood deck finish.  The board has a single fin set-up.

Watch this video from the Naish site to view the board's multi-concave hull.. Video.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Forward Stroke by Beau Whitehead

Here's a great article about the forward stroke by NW resident Beau Whitehead.  One of our fastest paddlers, Beau continues to win races regularly despite many new paddlers entering the scene.

Story Here.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

2012 Summer SUP Races in the Seattle Area -

NW SUP Race Season is in Full Gear!  Check out local races..
Every week throughout the summer, SUP races are taking place throughout our region.  Anyone can attend from any skill level.  If you want to race, attending these are a great way to get prepped for larger epic events such as the Round the Rock.

Short List of Weekly Pacific NW Summer Races..
Tues - Alki Kayaks 1.5 mile sprint from the shop to Duwamish Head and back.  Gear rentals available from
Wed - Urban Surf's races are always on Lake Union, but every week the course changes.  Approx 3 miles and the best attended local race.
Thurs - Perfect Wave in Kirkland host a race starting at Houghton Beach.
Fri - Lk Sammamish St Park races from Tibbits Beach, (not weekly)


Get in touch with Corey at for his weekly Saturday morning races!
Saturdays  South Sound Stand Up Paddle Race Series; 8:30 AM
jack hyde park on ruston : Start/ Finish at Jack Hyde Park on Ruston Way (at Old Town).
Apprx. 3 miles/ lap.  Click here to say you're going

Bill Walker of Ruby Creek Boathouse puts on several races including the Deception Pass Dash, Da Fuca Downwinder, Tall in the Saddle, and the Hobuck Hoedown.  Visit his "More Races" link for a an extensive list of other NW races. - This group's races are for all types of watercraft and have the most extensive racing schedule in the NW.  More info..

Stroke the Slough - Sammamish River/Slough - Redmond to Kenmore.

Deep Cove's Tuesday night races "North America's Largest Weekly Paddlesports Race."  Distance varies; On the Indian Arm, Vancouver BC.

Aug 18 & 19th, Naish Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge, Waterfront Park, Hood River.

Aug 24 - 26th, Oregon Open Ocean Classic, Newport.

Take My SUP Race Class - I teach a SUP Race class which is also a great way to perfect your forward stroke.  Tired of switching hands so often? Give me a holler.  Click Here for more info.

Note: There's several other races in the area, and we're working on a larger list to include here soon. Updated 7/18/12.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Mon & Thurs Evening SUP 101 Meet Up & Lessons

Interested in learning how to SUP or looking to brush up on your skills?  I'm now offering a two part Meet Up on Monday and Thursday evenings on Shilshole Bay and other locations in Seattle..

6pm - Basic Lesson for Beginners - Learn how to stand up and turn using a super stable paddle board. $40 class fee; $20 for board, paddle and/or clothing rentals.

7pm - Skills Clinic for those with some experience - Work on your skills and meet others with a similar skill level.  Beginners from the 6pm slot are welcome to join the 7pm folks for an additional hour at no
charge. $10 class fee; $20 for board, paddle and/or clothing rentals.

To join, go to Stand Up Paddle Seattle, and sign up. Give me a holler for more info.  

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Oregon Scientific ATC9K Waterproof Camera Review

A friend recently loaned me the Oregon Scientific ATC9K waterproof camera to try out for paddling. After using a GoPro for a few years I began to really enjoy the AT's slim aerodynamic shape, light weight, and easy usability.  Best of all, it floats!  I've managed to lose two GoPros while surfing. Adding floats didn't always work out.  I already managed to drop the AT while hand holding it from my kayak. Luckily it floated to live another day.  The bright yellow bands around the camera also help locate it if left behind.

Instead of pushing buttons endlessly hoping to land on the right feature, the AT has a single button for each feature on the exterior of the camera. It's viewing screen on the rear helped me set up shots, especially while mounting it on my SUP for surfing. The top of the camera has two buttons, one for Motion and one for Stills.  While the camera does have a great remote control device, I was able to use the end of my kayak paddle to switch between Motion and Stills while sitting in my kayak.  Video quality is quite good as are the stills.

The AT has several mounting options such as a sturdy suction cup, helmet attachment, handlebar/paddle attachment, and flat board mount.  I used all and they worked well in rough water and in saltwater.  I also stash the camera in my PFD and use it handheld often.  I've mounted the camera on my SUP decks, helmet, and the bow of a sea kayak.

Product Site, HERE.

More Specs.. 

  • 1080p = 1920x1080 pixels (16:9),
    30 fps, ~12 Mbit/s data rate

  • 720p = 1280x720 pixels (16:9),
    60 fps, ~12 Mbit/s data rate

  • 720p = 1280x720 pixels (16:9),
    30 fps, ~8 Mbit/s data rate

  • WVGA = 848x480 pixels (16:9),
    60 fps, ~8Mbit/s data rate

  • Sensor Type: 1/3.2“ 5M pixels CMOS

  • Light Sensitivity: Low-light sensitivity (>1.3V/lux-sec)

  • Video Format: H.264 in Quicktime format (.mov) for Windows and Mac OS

  • Exposure Control: Support one exposure control mode with auto exposure with calculating the scene average

  • White Balance : Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent

  • Selectable recording modes: Vivid, Negative, B&W, Sepia, Art modes
    • Resolution: Supports 3 megapixel and 5 megapixel

    • Photo Burst Capture: Continuously 3 photo and 5 photo bursts

    • Capture Modes: Single Shot, Countdown Timer: 5s and 10s settings
    • Night Mode and White Balance adjustments

Dan & Nikki Surf Skook

Last week Nikki Gregg and Dan Gavere hoofed it to Egmont BC, a few hours north of Vancouver to surf the epic tidal rapid - Skookumchuck, or 'Skook' on Sechelt Inlet.  Here's a few pics from their trip, as well as Nikki's blog posting HERE about the trip.

As Nikki states in her blog - this is for experienced paddlers only. ie: can you survive a 2 mile gnarly mostly underwater ride through gigantic sucking whirlpools, boils, eddylines, and other weird water effects?  If not, enjoy the view from the shore.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Longboard Surfing Films by Mike Clancy

I recently came across Mike Clancy's longboard surfing videos.  Using a laid back style similar to the Endless Summer films, Mike has captured longboard surfing in Central California to South America.
Check it out.. Kahuna Video.  

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Review of the Bark Laird Race 14'

I recently demoed the 14' Bark Laird Race in Tuflite from Seattle shop, Urban Surf.  This is a great board for taller paddlers seeking a stable fast race or touring board.  I took it in up to waist high surf (I'm 6'-5") and on a downwinder in Puget Sound of up to 30 kt winds (approx 4' waves).  In both cases I felt stable and found the board to edge and turn easily.

The bow/nose with it's traditional Competitor and Dominator style displacement design moved efficiently through the water with little splash and was very quiet.  The downside is that Tuflite is not only heavy to carry but I felt that with 10 less pounds in the board, I'd be working less and moving much faster.  The board caught surf waves with ease but I felt I could catch more wind waves if I could shed a few pounds (from the board).

This is a great entry level board for those wanting to race or tour.  I'd recommend the Pro Elite version if carrying a heavy 14' board isn't your thing or you want to go faster.

In the Pacific NW, check out Urban Surf to demo this board.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

SUP Flip Rescue

At some point as an instructor, guide or paddler you may come across another paddler who can't get on their board due to fatigue or injury. You may also come across a non SUP'er such as a swimmer, capsized kayaker or similar person who may need assistance.

The Flip Rescue (as I call it) is a great method to get a paddler back on their board.  Those familiar with rafting know this technique as well.  This video HERE shows the basic technique.  In the video, the SUP'er is apparently rescuing a swimmer or a paddler who lost their board (no leash?).

I recently read of an insructor who had a very fatigued student who couldn't get back on their board.  He used the flip rescue with success to pull the paddler out of the water.

Tips for a Successful Rescue:

- Determine immediatly if the rescuee is conscious and needs CPR.  If they are conscious, determine if they are hypothermic, (slurred speach, numbness, fatigue, etc).  Check for any injuries.  Ask them every few minutes if they are warm and how their fatigue level is.

- When you flip their board over, make sure to avoid hitting the rescuee or yourself.

- Place their paddle between their body and their overtuned board. When you flip them on to their board, their paddle will be pinned under their chest to the board, (rather than floating away).  You can place your paddle next to theirs in the water or keep it between their board and you.

- If they're wearing a Type 3 vest style PFD, grab both shoulder straps for pulling onto their board.

- If they don't have a Type 3 vest or the shoulder straps are loose, cross their arms and hold on to their hands as you flip them over.

- If the rescuee is a big person or larger than you, stand on their overturned board to get as much leverage as possible before falling back to flip them on their board.

- When falling back to flip their board over, keep your board at a distance to avoid hitting it as you fall backwards.  Coiled leashes will unfortantly pull your board towards you.

- Once the rescuee is on their board, swing them around so the are laying prone with their head facing the nose/bow of the board and feet on the board pointed towards the tail/stern.  Align their paddle shaft so it's under them with the handle sticking out towards the nose.  You can use the paddle shaft or handle to attach a tow line to if necessary.

4 Ways to get the rescuee back to shore:
- Lay on top of them and prone paddle to shore (with your board attached to your leash dragging behind). This may not work depending on your arm length, the thickness of the board or the rescuee.

- If their board is big enough, stand on their board and paddle back, providing you're not going upwind with your board dragging behind attached to your leash.

- If you're close to shore, swim their board back pushing from one side of the board.  This may fail if you're fighting wind and/or current or the conditions are in surf or other large waves. Plus pushing a large heavy object sideways isn't the most efficient way to go.

- Tow the rescuee back to shore using a waist or board mounted tow rope.  I'd recommend paddling prone or sitting on your board if you're going upwind.  I don't recommend giving them your leash to hold on to in rough conditions if you lack a tow rope.  Loosing your board would make the situation a bit worse.  See Tow Rope types.  When towing, make sure you have a quick release buckle on you and also attached to the swimmer.  Avoid towing in surf or in fast river conditions.  Tow systems can be stored on your board or attached to your waist or to a quick release belt on a Type 3 Rescue PFD.

Additional Rescue Tips for Instructors - (in brief, this can be a lengthly topic in itself):
- Take a CPR/First Aid class and/or Wilderness First Aid.
- As an instructor, carry a waterproofed bag with extra warm clothing, chemical heat packets, extra energy bars (or similar), mini First Aid kit, VHF radio (know how to use it), rocket flares, and a mylar emergency blanket. We call this a 'hypo kit' (hypothermia).  Kit contents vary depending on your region and type of tour or class.
- Practice the Flip Rescue.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

SUP Surf Camp, Hobuck Beach July 28 & 29th

Check out our SUP Surf Camp Hobuck Beach July 28 & 29th, $299 per person.  Includes two days of instruction and lunch.  Give me a holler for more info! or 206.465.7167

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Ultimate Search for Stoke.. Invasion from Planet C

A friend named his business after a movie he calls the "best surf flick ever made."  Invasion from Planet C is about two Earthings (I think) on the planetary search for the ultimate stoke.  Check it out, definitely worth a visit..

Invasion from Planet C 

My friend's business is Stoke Harvester, an online surf shop.  Read his interview of Mike Black, 'brainchild behind the movie', Here.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Summer Surf in the NW..

Last night was my first session surfing in WA State this year where my 4/3 was too warm.  I had to slip in a few times to cool off.  Great session with only four of us in the water.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

River SUP 101 with Nikki Gregg

Here's expert SUP paddler Nikki Gregg with a few basic tips for running rivers..

Brief Summary:
- Learn to paddle first on flat water.
- Learn the river. Scout before getting on the water. Ask local shops about hazards
- Take a whitewater / river SUP or whitewater class to learn to read and run rivers.
- Use the proper gear - helmet, PFD (vest), quick release belt for your leash, wet or drysuit, booties with grip to climb over rocks, optional shin pads, hydration, leash, plastic or inflatable board, rubber fins, fiberglass paddle.

- Use your eddies, know how to paddle in and out of eddies.
- Learn to ferry across the river or in between eddies.
- Attach the leash to your waist quick release belt. Only wear on deep rivers to avoid entanglement with rocks underneath. Some don't wear them on shallow rivers.  Never wear a leash on your ankle.
- Never go alone and go with someone you trust.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Reduce Flutter with a Dihedral Paddle Blade

Have you ever noticed your paddle blade fluttering through the water as you're taking your stroke?  This is common with paddle blades where the power face is completely flat.  Flutter is not only inefficient, but it can also lead to stress and tendinitis in your hand and wrist.  

Dihedral blades have a raised edge align with the paddle shaft leading through the middle of the blade and  flattening just before the blade's top edge.  This edge, much like a boat or board's bow, splits the water as it comes in contact with the blade allowing the blade to move smoothly through the water.  

Sore Wrists, Elbows, or Shoulders? Some Solutions..

A neighbor called today complaining of a sore hand, he thinks due to his SUP paddling. I offered some tips on relieving or better yet, preventing pain.

  • Always use the lightest grip possible on the paddle.  Lower hand should resemble the OK sign, upper thumb should hook the t-grip with gently resting the rest of the hand on top.  Wrist and forearms should be in align, not cocked at an angle.  Both hand.
  • Straight ish arm stroke revieves pressure from your hands.
  • Relax!  Even when you’re going faster or are rushing, chill.. Relax you’ll go faster doing so.
  • Get a bent shaft paddle. Werner has 2 which make your forearm/wrists straight without having to think about doing it.  
  • How heavy is your paddle?  Get carbon, super light. Paddle weight adds stress to your arms, shoulders, etc.  
  • Buy a dihedral blade.  Dihedral blades reduce flutter while you're pulling the blade through the water.  Dihedral is the raised line that follows past the shaft and onto the power face of your blade.  This splits the water in two directions - like a pointed board or boat bow.  In turn it helps reduce stress on your wrist and arms. 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Blame it on Jaws (not Laird)..

In teaching I come across a lot of different types of people.  One thing that has come to my attention lately are folks who have various anxieties about water, being on the water, or with paddling.  Here's a few of the most common I've experienced at recent paddling festivals or in my lessons..

- Being scared of the water.
- I don't go out on water where I can't see the bottom.
- I don't have good balance.  
- I don't like to get my feet wet.
- I can't swim.
- I don't like sharks.
- You won't be able to teach me.  or..  I'll be your worst student.  

Thursday, May 3, 2012

SUP Death on the River.. When to Wear a Leash

Last weekend a woman drowned when her leash got snagged on a tree on the Chetco River near Brookings, Oregon. Story Here.

River SUP is certainly a hoot, but it's also very dangerous.  Good river SUP instruction is required before hitting the water.  Leashes are catch 22. They can keep you from losing your board in a fall but also can create a major issue if it gets caught on a log, branch, or rock.

A Few River Hazards:
- Strainers: Logs or branches in the river. Water runs under these and you can get trapped if you try to paddle near, on, or under.  I've heard a few sketchy stories from friends over the years who have barely escaped strainers.

- Pins:  When a paddler's boat or board gets lodged in between rocks or logs.  We lost a good friend and river instructor a few years ago on the Green River in WA State when he was pinned upside down.

The Problem with Leashes:
Leashes can certainly prevent from getting separated from your board on a river, but they can also lead to other issues.  Leashes can in the case of the gal mentioned above get caught on logs, branches, and rocks. When they do, they can pull you under making it nearly impossible to release from you.

When to Wear a Leash:
On Class 1 (slow rivers) and Class 2+ with no wood (logs) and few rock gardens.

How to Wear your Leash:  
On your waist attached to a quick release belt of your PFD (Type 3) or by a quick release belt with a fastex bucket around your waist. In this way, you have two ways to release the leash from you in case of a pin or other incident.  It make sure the velcro pull tab attached to me is on the outside of my PFD quick release belt, so a pulling down motion will release it.  NEVER WEAR A LEASH ON YOUR ANKLE ON A RIVER.  If your foot gets caught you most likely won't be able to release the leash.  If you're swimming and your leash gets caught by a branch or similar, you won't be able to separate yourself from it and it can pull you under in current.

Straight vs Coiled Leash:
Straight leashes will drag behind your board catching things below the water.  Coiled leashes can catch branches and rocks when you're off the board.

No Leash?
Sometimes it's a good option particuliarly if you have class 1 sections below the area you're playing in or in between rapids.

Recommended River SUP Instruction:
- Otter Bar Lodge, Northern California.
- Dan Gavere, SUP Instruction.
- Adam McKenney, Leavenworth Mountain Sports.
- Strongwater Sports, Montana.